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@J. Paul - I agree, we need to hold ourselves accountable for where we are. Even when politics would want to silence you, you can still share what you know with the world by publishing it before it becomes a slide on someone else's PowerPoint :) Poor execution will show, lack of experience is clear, etc. Yes, these are tools, but they can be powerful when enrolled into making something valuable happen.

@Brian - I just want to say how much I enjoyed your metaphor. More so because I strongly believe we're all connected and therefore need each other now more than ever. We each bring a specialized skill and talent to the whole. Where I see failure it is that of recognizing this fundamental principle. The desire to control also comes from the insecurity and inability to contribute to the success of others and therefore the success of the whole.

@Richard - you know I've long admired your photographs. Indeed a journey of a thousand miles begins with one single step.

Glad you liked the photo enough to use with great post and glad you got the Company of Friends embarked on a journey "down the track"...I hope you enjoy it and are inspired to head down those tracks making a difference all the way

Those who don't get it, are paralyzed by their fear of change, or who are just too lazy to make the effort will find solace in being that random gear in the larger machine. We're all parts of a machine on some level, but we're not all simple cogs.

Last time I checked, engines don't have cogs. Some people are pistons, pressurizing resources to prepare for the spark. Connecting rods support the pistons, transferring the energy from combustion into the core of the organization, where bearings ensure friction is kept to a minimum as linear motion is converted to torque, which gets the whole thing moving. Only then can the clutch modulate the engagement of the transmission so as to minimize shock on the gears, which multiply, reduce or reverse A on it's way to B. If the organization is Earth-friendly, there are people who ensure a minimum of waste and emissions along the way.

Is management sitting in the driver's seat, working the pedals, shifting the gears, and steering the whole thing or are the individual systems autonomous, each knowing how it contributes to the whole?

Yeah. I'm a gear head. It's how I think. I just feel that it's important not to think of everyone as "cogs." You know what you can build with a box of cogs? A pile of cogs. Without all the other parts, there is nothing.

Not everyone can be an astronaut or rockstar, but if everyone is honest about what they do and how they do it, it's possible to get all the different parts together to build a high performance organization.

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